The Island that Disappeared: Old Providence and the Making of the Western World

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9781911184041: The Island that Disappeared: Old Providence and the Making of the Western World
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The creation myth of the United States begins with the plucky English puritans who landed on the Mayflower, and went on to build the most powerful nation on earth.This is the story of the passengers aboard its sister ship, the Seaflower, who in 1630, founded a rival puritan colony on an isolated Caribbean island called Providence, convinced that England's empire would rise not in barren New England, but tropical Central America. But their crops failed, their slaves revolted, and as crisis loomed, the worldlier settlers turned to piracy. After ten years of conflict between God-fearing puritans and devil-may-care buccaneers, the Spanish invaded, and the colony was wiped out.

Providence was soon forgotten in England, but as Tom Feiling discovers, the same drama was played out by the men and women who re-settled the island 100 years later. These days, Providence is a fascinating microcosm of the Atlantic story. At first glance, it is an island of devout churchgoers - but look a little closer, and you see that it is still dependent on its smugglers. At once intimate and global, this story of puritans and pirates goes to the heart of the contradictory nature of the Caribbean. But The Island that Disappeared also offers telling insights into Britain's history, and the global role that it imagines itself playing post-Brexit.

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Product Description:

The creation myth of the US begins with the puritans of the Mayflower who went on to build the most powerful nation on earth. This is the story of the passengers aboard its sister ship, the Seaflower, who in 1630 founded a rival colony on an isolated Caribbean island called Providence. Their crops failed, slaves revolted, and as crisis loomed the settlers turned to piracy., After the colony was wiped out by the Spanish Providence was forgotten in England, but the drama was re-played by those who settled the island 100 years later, now providing a fascinating microcosm of the Atlantic story.

Review:

"[A] fascinating book ... Tom Feiling packs his intriguing tale with period detail and colourful anecdotes" --New Internationalist

"A fascinating story with an extraordinarily exotic cast of characters." -- Andrew Marr

"[A] quite remarkable story. Far from England's shores, Feiling paints a vivid and entertaining picture of Caribbean and Central American exploration... engaging and... fascinating." -- Geographical

"'Feiling wants us to reflect on the lasting scars of its colonial heritage and our complicity in some of its present difficulties. His book, then, winds up being that most Puritan of things, a call to conscience." --Travis Elborough, The Spectator

"The Island that Disappeared is to be celebrated as a triumph... Tom Feiling has captured humanity in all its guises and in doing so has held up a mirror to the politics and culture we are shaping today. This book is an absolute gem and not to be missed." - The Bookbag

"A hidden history, a forgotten island, an engaging author... nothing could be finer." --Dr Sam Willis, author and presenter: 'Britain's Armed History', 'Britain's Outlaws', 'Shipwrecks'

"A superb job and the interweaving of past and (personal) present works brilliantly... the reader is richly rewarded." --Dervla Murphy, author, Full Tilt: Ireland to India With a Bicycle and Between River and Sea: Encounters in Israel and Palestine

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